Monday, November 22, 2010

The White stuff?

Hello and a very good evening from Glasgow! I can smell deep fried pizza wafting into my hotel room.

Spent a shocking night in Dusseldorf yesterday, clock watching. Finally fell asleep at 2am ish, only to be woken by all the telephones ringing at 3.45 to announce I had an hour until pick up from the hotel. Grumpy so and so today.
Arrived in Glasgow around 12.30 and headed to the shops. Managed to get a few Christmas presents, some lovely boxes in John Lewis, thanks (or not) to one of the girls on the crew. What is it with JL's and lovely things?? I am so weak.

We had lunch at Wagamamas and I ordered some udon noodle thing with a peanut and lime topping, tofu and prawns. Delicious. Back to the shops for a few bits from Paperchase (another favourite shop for lovely wrapping paper and 'stuff'). Pick up tomorrow is a more reasonable 5.45am, which to most is horrific, but after 3 flights tomorrow I am off for a while. Good job too, as the Christmas pudding orders are flying in!!

I made coconut ice for the fair the other day. All bagged and ready to go! Traditional pick and white.

....and the more unusual lavender and white -

Looking sightly grey in the photo, but it is a lovely colour really.

My confectioners spirit was in full flow, so made peppermint creams to add to the pudding basin that will display the sweets for the fair. After spending a few pounds on Waitrose 'natural' food colourings, it seemed appropriate. (How is ground up beetles to get red food colouring, deemed natural)??

All in all, the preparations are going well. I have ordered 5 pounds of fresh cranberries from the grocer at the market and hope to make some kind of orange and cranberry sauce to sell too. Might need the addition of cointreau to get the customers purchasing my wares. I think it should go down well, being as it is a Christmas day staple.

We haven't had any eggs all week, so think that is it until next year now. The hens deserve a break and can recharge their batteries over winter. Bought another 6 eggs from a deli, stunning dark brown shells, from happy hens the owner keeps himself. £1.80 for 6. I think that's pretty good!

Back is slightly niggling again today, not helped by lack of sleep and irritability all day. Just had a hot bath and my constant companion, the hot water bottle, is by my side *smiles*.

I managed to get my head out of the window here in the hotel. Damn these non smoking hotels! I will have my wicked weed. There is a security chain only allowing the window to open slightly, but with the flexibilty of a contortionist, I did it. It's like being at school, having a sneaky fag behind the bike sheds! Noticed another couple of brave souls defying the rules too; lights off, curtained pulled close behind them, trying to hide the glow of the burning ciggie! With the hotel being on a main road, the sight of me in bed time attire -tshirt and Coca cola lounge pants- isn't the nicest for passers by.

Early to bed for me as have a long day tomorrow.

Hope everyone in blogland is well? I hear we have snow forecast for later in the week? After my fair please. I have been harping on about it for long enough, and whilst the idea of 2 foot of snow appeals, I would like to do it. Although, should we be snowed in, we have plenty of jam and mincemeat!!

C x x x

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The roster's are out!

Evening All!

Well, my back has survived the week. Day one at work was touch and go, but a spot of shopping in a craft shop, soon helped. ;0) I have discovered that I don't need to heated seats in my car. A hot water bottle wedged between me and the seat works wonders for the long drive to work. Beware though, when the stopper isn't in properly. Trust me.

Been busy today baking yet more mini Christmas cakes. I have sold so many at work that I was running out for the fair. 9 more made today, so will wrap those tomorrow. Ran out of dark brown sugar, so the Christmas puddings I was planning on making today will have to wait until tomorrow.

The egg drought has hit us. We had to buy a dozen yesterday. Yes, it is sad, but I need them with all the baking I'm doing. We obviously buy free range, but look at the colour of the yolks!
Elsbeth's is on the left.

My hens don't spend very much time on grass, as their chicken corner is now wood chippings, but I do give them fresh greens a few times a week. The colour isn't that clear in the photo, but the shop bought eggs are so pale. They are all well, feathers still dropping every so often, but they seem fine. The rain has turned their corner into a mini swamp, but their runs are still relatively dry.

Having watched Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall thingymabob on the tv making bread, I decided to bake bagels for the first time. Making a dough and then popping mini bagels in simmering water is really strange, but it worked well. Dipped in sesame and poppy seeds as a final flourish!

Jase very kindly bought me an advent calendar. Cadburys chocolate naturally. You have to have a chocolate one. Looking forward to December the first now!

The best news is that the December roster came out this evening and I am off for Christmas!! I can't believe it. Off from the 19th Dec - 02nd Jan. Woohooo. It means I can go to Scotland with Jase and spend Christmas up there. Not really looking forward to the drive, but Jase's car has heated seats which are the best invention for bad backs.

Just realised the time! It's nearly midnight so I'm off to bed!

Have a good weekend everyone.

C x x x

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Oops, I did it again....

I spent most of yesterday at the dining table sewing. The office is great for sewing, now that the desk is clear, but I had lots of things to do, so decided to take over the lounge/dining room. I started at 9am and by 6pm had nearly finished. I pushed the sewing machine away from me and felt a ping. Not a good ping. My back went into spasm and I couldn't move.

People complain about their backs and I had never really given it much thought, until 4 years ago after a very hard landing at work. I say landing, a controlled crash and whack into tarmac is more appropriate. I had around 8 weeks off at the time and my back has never been the same since.

I just take things easy, lift correctly and take pain killers when it is really bad - which luckily is rare. However, yesterday I was in absolute agony that it made me cry. I took some tablets (pain killers and anti inflammatory) and walked around with a hot water bottle tucked into my pj's. I couldn't sit, stand or do anything really. At a complete loss as what to do. Even deep breathing hurt and it was all too much. I just wanted it to end.

Called NHS direct only to be advised it would be a 4 hour wait for a nurse. Disgraceful. I hung up.
Going for a pee was interesting. Won't go into details, but never before has flushing the toilet caused me pain.

I stayed up until 1am as I was scared to go to bed. It also meant I could take more pain killers.

Thank goodness I woke up and things were looser today. My back is still tight, but no more shooting pain and I can move quite freely and pee when I want to! No more putting it off for fear of flushing!!

Mum and Dad came over today and bought me milk, as I had run out. The raspberry jam doughnut helped comfort me too. Dad filled up the coal bucket and emptied the bin for me. I daren't drive, just in case I have to brake suddenly and risk it kicking off again.

So today I cut out fabric toppers for spiced Christmas nuts and numerous jars of onion jam. Anything I can do standing up is fine. Sitting is still a problem, well, getting up again is! It is starting to tighten again now, so going to have a hot water bottle surgically attached to my back.

Elsbeth has started laying quite well - we've had 3 eggs so far this week. I filled up their food and grit today and noticed a grey tail feather. Looks like she has decided to moult now.

Pleased with the fair preparations. Lots done, but still more to do. Got a letter today confirming my table and position in the hall. Will give myself a break for a day or two and I don't want to push it. My first 'order' is ready to go and the second one is nearly finished.

Better make myself something to eat. Jacket potato and prawns I think. Then light the fire and chill out until J comes home.

C x x x

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

A little update.

My back has been niggling me for a few days and today it came to a head. Really sore so I gave in and took tablets. A hot shower helped, but it started to seize up again shortly afterwards.

I spent today doing crafty things. I finished off my crayon rolls -

And the inside -

All the Christmas cakes are now wrapped and tucked away in the utility room until the fair.

Thinking of the fair, I wanted to do more gifts for gardeners as they proved popular last year. Having been into town yesterday and picked a watering can cookie cutter, I made some shortbread and decided to put them in a plant pot!

I made a little watering can tag to tie on the bag. I really like it. Have a few more pots, so will make 5 and see if they sell at the fair.

I also took a picture of the garden basket I bought at the antique's fair. Not the best picture, but you get the idea.

I think it'll look great filled with little gingham hearts or bags of sweets.

Jase made a double batch of onion jam today. He used the food processor to prevent any tears, but the fumes coming off 1.4kgs of onions had me sobbing! 9 more jars made though!!

More logs needed on the fire, so better see to it.

C x x x

Monday, November 01, 2010

It's dark out there.

Evening All!

I can't believe it is November already! That time of year when I plod around the house changing clocks, excited that Christmas isn't far away, but hating the short days.

I have been receiving complaints about not updating my blog, apologies! Lauren & Lottie! *wink*

Been busy today. Had a dental appointment at 11ish so left the house early and popped to the new Hobbycraft in Basingstoke as it was on the way. My dentist asked if I had given up smoking as my teeth were much cleaner than last time i went. I was honest and told her that I had a very good toothbrush. She asked if I flossed? Again, brutally honest, I floss like a lunatic a week before I am due an appointment!!
Let's just say that I had an expensive day. £70 at the dentist and *cough* rather a lot at Hobbycraft! It is safe to say that I was quite excited as I walked in the door. The Christmas fairies had stuffed the shop full and I wasn't sure where to begin. I got lots of bits to adorn Christmas pressies, just need a solid week to do it all. If you need baubles, just let me know.

Met Mum and Dad for lunch and headed off to an antique centre where I picked up a wire basket for holding, erm, stuff. Will look good on the stall. It was too nice to resist.

Got home around 3.30pm, via the garage. A light came on my dashboard and thought it best not to ignore it. After a reset and test drive, all is well and it didn't cost me a penny. Mind you, I have spent a fair amount on Mortimer the Mini there, but it was nice not to have to get my wallet out. Will take them some mince pies before Christmas as a thank you.

Right, fInished the last batch of mincemeat today. Another 11 jars and hopefully, that'll be it for this year. More mini Christmas cakes baked too.

All double wrapped ready to go in.

Little brown, boozy, gorgeous fruit cakes.

I'll wrap them up tomorrow and tuck them away in the cool utility room until needed.

The girls are fine, bald and patchy, but fine. We had an egg from Elsbeth this week. A tiny one, but an egg! I had to hang my head in shame in Waitrose. I bought eggs. 2 boxes as I need them for baking. Buying 3 boxes of eggs in 4 years isn't too embarrassing when you keep your own hens, is it? They aren't as nice. Pale yolks and watery whites. Our own eggs are better. Roll on spring when they start laying again.

Jase is due back tomorrow, early evening and then has 3 days off. I am really hoping to get the garden at least started. Was tempted to get a gardener in, but that would be cheating. Our garden isn't huge, but enough to keep my busy at the best of times. Horrendous when I let it slip.

Friends stayed at the weekend, hence me spending hours sorting out the office and making it habitable. It is now spotless and a pleasure to sit at the desk (which is solid wood, I had forgotten due to the amount of crap covering it) and get sewing done. I am trying to keep it that way. We will see.

I am exhausted. Been busy and need to go to bed. Been feeling much more tired than normal. I'm hoping it is just the weather and clocks going back and not the glandular feeling thing rearing it's ugly head. Anyway, off to bed now.

Night night!

C x x x